Tell Me About Your Boots and Win $50 From HuntingBoots.com

Which type of boots do you prefer?

I’ve got solid hiking boots for my hunts that take me miles into the woods, and I’ve got rubber boots that are insulated to the max for cold weather tree stand hunts.  What I am missing is a lighter-weight boot for warm weather outings in the early archery season.

Should I go with something lightweight and stealth, like the Danner Jackal II?  Or, should I stick with something that will offer better coverage and scent control, such as the Rocky ProLight series?

What type of boots do you use for early-to-mid archery season?  What aspects of a boot are most important to you?

Leave a comment below and tell me about your preferred early-to-mid season boots, and you will be entered to win a $50 gift card from my friends at HuntingBoots.com!

I will draw the winner on the morning of  July 20th.  If you have any trouble with the comment form below, please contact me and I’ll get you entered.  Thanks!

Reflections from 30,000 Feet

“Ladies and gentleman, can I have your attention? The captain has turned off the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign, indicating that you are now free to move about the aircraft.”

Move about the aircraft? That hardly seems feasible. The man in front of me has reclined his seat, cramming my 6’3” frame into a position that makes me think I could qualify as an act for the Cirque du Soleil. The lady next to me has fallen asleep and somehow managed to place a good portion of her body weight onto my left side.  Move about the aircraft? I hardly have room for my chest to make the slow rise and fall that is required to breathe the stale air that surrounds me.

Mountain view from the sky

My attention turns to my right, and the clouds outside the tiny window. We pass in-and-out of these clouds as we make our way across the Northwest, towards Missouri. We have departed from Washington State and will be crossing over some of the best land that the West has to offer.

I am passing by these lands at a rate of over five-hundred miles-per-hour, from over thirty-thousand feet in the sky. I can make out certain prominent features of the terrain, but what I cannot see from this perspective is the vast amount of wild game that inhabit these lands.

My mind wanders from the terrain, to the game, to the hunter.

These lands are much more than beautiful and bountiful; they are lands in which hunters that I know make their pursuit. I think of Dan, Dustin, Steve, Rob, Emily, and Tom. I think of the game that they pursue in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and other western states.

I don’t hunt in all of these states, nor do I hunt every species live in them, but these lands are still something that I should care about. I shouldn’t care for these lands simply because I know folks that hunt them – although that does strengthen my resolve – I should care for these lands because it is for the good of hunting.

I have a deep conviction that hunters need to protect our lands, and also work with one another to protect all types of historical, ethical, fair chase hunting. Many hunters are only concerned with what happens on their hunting land and to the species that they enjoy hunting.  Sadly, like I have thought that way, too.

It is critical that we learn to see beyond our own hunting.

We, as hunters, must begin to see the big picture. And not only see it, but work to protect it. One of the most frustrating experiences I have had with hunters has been the mindset that, “Issue X doesn’t apply to me directly, or present any harm to my way of hunting, therefore it doesn’t matter.”

That kind of thinking is reckless, and it presents a very real danger to the future of hunting.

I hope that you are a passionate and driven hunter. But even more than that, I hope that you realize that you – yes, YOU! – have a role to play in securing the future of hunting.

The lies are easy to believe. We can say that the problem is too big, or that the problem is too far removed from my back yard.  We can think someone else will take care of the problem, or pretend that we didn’t know there was a problem to begin with.  All would be lies.

The truth?

The truth is that the problem is big. But we can each be a small part of the solution, and work together to ensure quality hunting for our next season, as well as for future generations.

The truth is that the problem may be hundreds, or even thousands of miles away, but if it is affecting hunting, then it should matter to all of us.

The truth is that, while someone else may be working on an issue, we all have a part to play.

The true is that we can’t afford to claim ignorance. We can’t afford to not pay attention. We must learn about what issues are facing hunting today. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to hunters everywhere.

Henry Ford once said,

“There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems.”

Before I buckle my seatbelt and prepare for landing, I have one question for you…

What little problem can you begin to help solve?

 

Intentional Practice – Shot Sequence Part I

Arrows on Target

In life there are no shortcuts to lasting success.  None.  Success is a combination of hard work, smart work, and luck. Bowhunting is no exception.

If you want a become a more accurate archer, and therefore a better bowhunter, you will most likely come to the conclusion that you need to shoot more, and you are probably right…to an extent. However, simply increasing the number of shots we take isn’t going to make us better; in fact it may hurt us in the long run.

You have no doubt heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect.”  Many of you may have even heard the escalation of that phrase, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”  Becoming a more accurate archer isn’t about how many shots you take in a practice session; it is about how many perfect shots you execute in a practice session.

Each and every lazy, wasted, bad shot is a step in the wrong direction.  The key to becoming a better archer is to make each and every shot count, and the best way that I have found to do that is to shoot with a shot sequence.

What is a shot sequence?

I like to think of it as a “mental checklist” that I run through for each and every shot that I take.  However, the entire point of my shot sequence is to train my body to shoot without thinking.

When the moment comes and you finally get the animal you have been pursuing into bow range, adrenaline takes over.  I don’t know about you, but in that moment, I am not always able to settle down and run through my shot sequence.  It could be because I am too excited, which I do have some control over, or it could be because this animal is giving me a limited opportunity to make the shot and I have to get right down to business.

In these moments our shooting should be automatic, and while we may not have time to run through our shot sequence, it should be so ingrained in our minds and muscle memory that we follow the steps of our shot sequence without consciously deciding to do so.

Additionally, my shot sequence is critical for helping me diagnose bad shots.  When I utilize my shot sequence, I can immediately identify what went wrong when I make a bad shot – whether it was my grip, bow torque, a flinch, or my aim – I will know for sure.

So the big question is: What is a good shot sequence, and how can I begin using one?  Obviously not everyone will want to use the exact same shot sequence, but there are common elements of a shot sequence that everyone should employ.

Stay tuned for Part II to learn more about that!  (UPDATE – Here is Part II)

This article also appeared on WiredToHunt.com

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Friday Files – How To Read A Topographic Map, Arrow Trajectory, Bowhunting Fitness, and More…

Why hunting your own dinner is an ethical way to eat

“Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who hunted. Hunters, I figured, were probably just barbaric gun nuts. Then, eight years ago, I moved from Manhattan to rural Oregon, to write for a small newspaper. My perspective shifted when I began interviewing hunters for my articles and realized that although I had long considered myself an environmentalist, these hunters – most of whom scoffed at the “E” word – were more knowledgeable and thoughtful about animals and nature than I was…”  Read the rest…

Arrow Trajectory

Pedro Ampuero from Adventurous Bowhunter discusses arrow trajectory and explains an interesting one-pin exercise to try.  I am going to give this a shot!  Learn more…

How to Read a Topographic Map

Topographic maps are a hunter’s best friend.  They certainly don’t replace scouting on the ground, but they are absolutely critical in helping hunter’s find areas that they should scout.  Do you really know how to ready one?  This should help…  (Also see this post, which will show you how to add topographic maps to Google Earth.)

Bowhunting Fitness

Do you want to get in better shape for hunting without following some crazy workout plan or going to the gym?  It is possible.  Learn how…

Hallowed Ground Outdoors - Chapter 2 Episode 1: “Bloody Muddy”

A refreshingly good episode of hunting television…

If you don’t see the video above, please watch it here.

Gear Review – Dahlgren Light Hiking & Running Socks

I have had the chance to review some cool gear for Sole Adventure, and while today’s review is probably far from “cool”, it is one of the products that I am most excited about.  Today I am reviewing socks.

Yes, socks.  Kind of odd, right?

To be honest, I almost passed at the opportunity to do this review.  And then I remembered two things.  1) I have seen quite a few guys ask about advice on good socks, and 2) I have been disappointed with some of the “best” socks out there.

Two of my passions are bowhunting and trail running.  If you don’t take care of your feet for either of those endeavors, your day is over immediately.  (Maybe socks are important after all.)

For a couple of months now I have put Dahlgren’s Light Hiking and Running models through some hard use.  And when I say hard, what I mean is extended hikes and backpacking trips, spring hunts, as well as dozens of long runs and races on some of the toughest trails in the area.  Stuff like this…

If you don’t see the video above, please watch it here.

There are a lot of good socks out there, but what I have found is that Dahlgren beats the competition for three reasons…

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Integrity

Comfort

Dahlgren socks feel very cozy as soon as you slip them on your feet.  That is nice, but it doesn’t really matter.  What I care about is how comfortable a sock is at the end of a long day on the trail.  How comfortable is the sock after I have run in the heat, crossed through water, and reached the end of a 16 mile race.  (Or a long hunt!)

Dahlgren has “Dri-Stride” technology, which is basically their approach at moisture management.  By utilizing different materials at strategic locations throughout the sock, Dahlgren does three things with moisture, where needed: Absorb, Transfer, and Evaporate.  I don’t get all the technology, but I will say this – it works.

Dahlgren's Dri-Stride Technology

At the end of the day (literally), Dahlgren are the most comfortable socks that I have worn.

Durability

As I mentioned before, I have been disappointed by some of the “best” socks out there.  It is very frustrating to drop a good amount of money on a “quality” sock that doesn’t even last one season.  I have abused the Dahlgren socks for a few months now and they are showing no signs of wearing out or developing any holes.

One reason for this is that Dahlgren doesn’t just use merino wool, they also incorporate Alpaca, which is both cashmere-soft and incredibly resilient.

End of a race

Integrity

Can a sock have integrity?  I don’t think so; but a family can.

Dahlgren is family owned company, which began in 1978 when Ray and Diane Dahlgren set out to make the best possible sock for athletes.  Roy and Diane’s daughter, Kris Dahlgren, is the current president.

All of the Dahlgren line is produced right here in the USA.  They also use 90% postconsumer recycled synthetics.

In Conclusion

It is odd to be excited about socks.  But I am.

Dahlgren socks are the best socks that I have tried, and they are one of the few products that I have received for review purposes and plan on continuing to purchase and use on my own.

Dahlgren makes for all kinds of activities.  Check out their full line at DahlgrenFootwear.com